Madison (WKOW) -- Toys are an important part of playtime activities, and they play an important role in learning and social development.
But the pick of toys can be limited for children with disabilities.
Ther is ,however, a company that makes toy adaptations to fit the needs of just about any child.
Two-year old Max Malec was born with spina bifida.
But that doesn't stop him from playing.
Max's dad Mike says, "We wanted Max to be as normal as another child, so he doesn't feel left out. And having an older brother to try to keep up with, Max is on the go."
When Max was unable to use his new tricycle with hand pedals, the family found help from the toy adaptation network. Occupational Therapist, Amy Frantz, works with technicians to find ways to custom-adapt toys, like Max's bike.
"So when they brought it in, you know, it wasn't really complex adaptations, but it was enough to enable this little boy to use it successfully, and they were excited. The little boy was so excited.", says Frantz.
For Max, they added trunk support straps, blocks to help his feet reach the pedals and velcro closures to secure his feet.
This center offers toy adaptations year round. The average turn around time is one to two days, and it's all free.
Frantz says, "I think it's very important because you know, most people take play for granted. And when a child cannot play, developmentally, they're gonna be behind. Because that's how you learn, through play."
Mike says, "The bike or tricycle has made a big improvement in Max's life, because he can now interact with his brother and enjoy being a child, playing, doing the play things that kids do."
Now, Max can take off. And big brother, Mickey, is racing to keep up with him.
Toy adaptations can range from adding suction cups to hold a toy in place, to replacing tiny switches or enlarging and extending knobs and levers.
About 100 toys are adapted through the toy adaptation program each year.
They have worked with children as young as six months on up to those in their teenage years.